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Upcoming Challenges For Mt Pinos Observing

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#1 RLK1

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Posted 23 October 2021 - 06:44 PM

For those who regularly observe from the popular spot at Mt Pinos in SoCal, two significant hurdles may soon be coming our way:

1. The powers that be in Kern county have deemed a new park, complete with an array of amenities, be planted in the "mountain communities" within the Frazier Park region. It's a safe bet those "amenities" will include high intensity lighting.

2. "Cal Trans". If those words strike fear in your heart and mind, it's for probably good reason. They're soon to be back at it with more so-called "improvements" for roughly 15 miles of freeway from the Newhall Pass to up and around Templin Highway.  For those who remember the prior set of "improvements" made several years ago in much of the same area, the bottlenecks in traffic and the delays that resulted from it should still be a recent nightmare. Now, you'll get to relive it again as those improvements are improved yet again! God only knows how long that will take but here's my take on it: From time to time, I travel the 101 around Santa Barbara and the road construction "improvement" program began about ten years ago. I drove through the area a few months ago and my wife and I were hard pressed to discern any meaningful improvement relative to progression and completion of the project. I suspect a new worker who began his career working there ten years ago will probably be able to retire around ten years from now or at about the time the project is actually completed. In other words, the same worker(s) will have spent an entire career on the same roadway. If that sounds familiar to those accustomed to driving freeways afflicted by Cal Trans, it's probably because it invokes the painful memories of the 405 freeway "improvement" project along the Mulholland Pass that went on for years past its designated completion time and cost one billion dollars to complete with the end result being it was deemed a total failure by the post completion studies that occurred afterwards. I anticipate more of the same with the latest endeavor with drive up to the Mt Pinos area becoming a major headache, especially northbound through Santa Clarita...



#2 skygazer66WA

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Posted 23 October 2021 - 11:15 PM

"Cal Trans" yikes! The east Bay Bridge project, don't get me started! I think the plan in the area you mention is to add carpool lanes from the 5/14 junction to Templin Hwy. Similar to the Sepulveda Pass 405 "carmegeddon" project; how has that one worked out, LOL? Funding issues tend to strech the timeline on highway projects from reasonable, like 1-3 years, to 20+ years (here in Washington state, the I-5 rebuild through Tacoma has taken 15 years and is still not completed).

 

The road from Sylmar thru the Grapevine has an interesting history. The original Ridge Route connecting LA to Bakersfield was completed in 1915 as a gravel road. In 1933, Legislative Route 4, posted as US-99, was built on a straighter routing complete with the middle 3rd passing lane known as the suicide lane for obvious reasons. By 1952 this was widened to a 4-lane expressway. The current I-5 with 8 lanes was completed in 1970, much of which overlaid the old Hwy. 99. The former 99 that still exists is called "The old road" as you're likely aware. 

 

51 years later due to the explosive growth of the Santa Clarita area, even 8 lanes is not enough for the heavy traffic.  Getting back to astronomy, this growth has not been helpful (along with the growth in Bakersfield area) for the dark sky at Mt. Pinos. We can only hope that if new facilities are built nearby, it has proper IDA-approved light shielding. 


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#3 Starman1

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 05:58 PM

Other upcoming challenges:

1) Logging in the area is now going to be allowed.

Though that is a daytime activity, it is normal for the yards where equipment is stored when not in use to be lit up like a shopping mall.

2) Housing development in Lebec.  Though this has been stopped for now, I am dubious it will be stopped forever.  If truly serious water rationing comes to SoCal,

then this development will be prevented.

3) Continued growth of Pine Mountain Club on the north slope of the mountain.  It already adds quite a bit of light at night, but it's getting worse by the month.

4) Continued growth of the retail areas near the 5 Freeway.  The amount of light at night is already awful.

 

I'm still looking for a site out to the west that has darker skies, but the altitude will be a lot lower.



#4 RLK1

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 07:11 PM

My three alternate considerations at this time:  Cachuma Lake, Figueroa Mountain and Canebrake. Each will put an hour plus to my drive time except for Cachuma Lake at an additional 15 minutes or so. I'm not sure how dark or light polluted the lake might be, though.  



#5 RLK1

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 02:17 PM

It appears that most of the freeway construction will occur at night, at least during the opening phase of the project so that shouldn't impede traffic flow up to Mt Pinos at this time:

https://signalscv.co...5-construction/

For more about updated information about the proposed logging operations at Mt Pinos and surrounding areas:

https://lpfw.org/for...ng-on-mt-pinos/

It's noteworthy that the Kern county board of supervisors opposed one or more of the projects that falls within their purview but the forest service and the logging companies plan to proceed anyway..,.



#6 Starman1

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 02:22 PM

It appears that most of the freeway construction will occur at night, at least during the opening phase of the project so that shouldn't impede traffic flow up to Mt Pinos at this time:

https://signalscv.co...5-construction/

For more about updated information about the proposed logging operations at Mt Pinos and surrounding areas:

https://lpfw.org/for...ng-on-mt-pinos/

It's noteworthy that the Kern county board of supervisors opposed one or more of the projects that falls within their purview but the forest service and the logging companies plan to proceed anyway..,.

Great, easy access during the day and bright work lights at night to illuminate the sky.

Last year they did work along the Lockwood Valley Road and completely ruined the observing during that period.

We have to find someplace dark farther away.



#7 RLK1

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 02:47 PM

Great, easy access during the day and bright work lights at night to illuminate the sky.

Last year they did work along the Lockwood Valley Road and completely ruined the observing during that period.

We have to find someplace dark farther away.

I doubt the work lights on the freeway will be a problem for Mt Pinos since they'll be in the SCV area and it's lit up anyway. I'm worried about the logging operations and whatever work lights they'll place in and around those projects...




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